Important Nursing Skills for Your Resume

Nurses Discussing Over Documents in Hospital

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Nursing is a challenging, rewarding profession that requires a variety of hard skills. Nurses need to have a lot of medical knowledge and need to be able to perform certain procedures (such as giving vaccinations and drawing blood). They also need to be tech-savvy, because they often have to update patient charts through a hospital’s online database.

Nurses also need some soft skills. They have to be patient and empathetic towards both patients and patients’ families.

They need to have strong communication skills to relay information to patients and their families, and also to work effectively with doctors and other nurses.

Skills to Include on Your RN Resume

Review an example of a resume highlighting the candidate's nursing skills, and read below for a list of five of the most important nursing skills, as well as a longer list of other skills employers seek when hiring nurses and nurse practitioners. Develop these skills and emphasize them in job applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

Having a combination of these hard and soft skills will set you up to be a successful nurse or nurse practitioner, and the closer a match your credentials are to what the employer is looking for, the better your chances of getting hired.

Resume Example Focused on Nursing Skills

Review an example of a resume for a nursing position, then review a list of skills to include on your own resume. Download the resume template (available in Google Docs and Word Online) and see the example below.

Nursing resume example
 @ The Balance 2020

Nurse Resume Example (Text Version)

Joseph Garcia, BSN, RN
31 Main Street, Apt 4R
Riverview, NY 10702

 Experienced clinical nurse dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered care as part of an interdisciplinary medicine team. Current certifications include: CMSRN, ACLS, AHA BLS for Healthcare Provider (CPR & AED)


  • Patient Care
  • Patient Assessment
  • Infection Control
  • Critical Thinking
  • Catheterization
  • Leadership
  • Telemetry
  • Empathy

Professional Experience

Clinical Nurse/RN, 2017 to Present
City Hospital – New York, NY
Provides patient-centered care in busy medical/surgical setting using the nursing process, listening skills, and critical thinking.

  • Designated weekend charge nurse.
  • Frequent RN preceptor, mentoring new hires, including recent grads.
  • Participates in chart review, sepsis committee, and other quality improvement initiatives.
  • Frequently praised by management as unit leader for nursing judgment and teamwork and patients and families for empathy and compassion.

Registered Nurse, 2014 to 2017
Community Hospital – Riverview, NY
In a community hospital setting, used the nursing process and critical thinking skills to deliver optimal patient care.

  •  Assessed patients, developed care plans, and administered medication.
  • Provided patient and family education.
  • Served as charge nurse as assigned.


Bachelor of Science, Nursing
Southern New York School of Nursing, 2014

 Additional Certifications

Current Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN), ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), BLS (Basic Life Support), and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certifications

Examples of Nursing Skills

Communication Skills

Nurses must have excellent communication skills because so much of what they do involves transmitting information, from instructing and educating patients to briefing doctors and other nurses on changes in a patient’s status. Discussions can be complicated by the fact that many patients know little about medicine, so health information must be translated into less technical terms.

Communicating compassion, respect, and confidence to patients and families who may be frightened or angry are critical. Nurses also have to listen carefully to patients and families to collect important information.

Critical Thinking Skills

Healthcare involves solving puzzles. While most nurses are not responsible for diagnosis or deciding on the course of care, they still must respond correctly to emerging situations, and their input is often invaluable. Some of these decisions are obvious, based on established standards of care, but others are not.

Critical thinking skills are highly valued in candidates for employment.


Not all patients are pleasant and polite. Some can be abusive or ungrateful. All deserve compassionate care. The ability to be kind and considerate to someone who is misbehaving, even in the face of one’s discomfort and exhaustion, is critical in nursing.

Observational Skills

Small, subtle changes, such as a strange odor to the breath or a detail of a patient’s lifestyle shared in casual conversation, could be very important diagnostic signs. While nurses are not typically responsible for diagnosis, the doctor might not be present when the change happens, or when the patient shares the information. Nurses have to notice these details and recognize them as important.

Physical Endurance

Nurses often have to move heavy equipment and even patients, and they work very long hours. Physical strength and endurance are very important. Nurses who are not in good condition themselves are liable to develop health problems of their own, requiring care, rather than giving it.

Nursing Skills List

A – G

  • Accuracy
  • Adolescent Care
  • Administration of Medications
  • Antibiotic Therapy
  • Assisting in Surgery
  • Assisting with Exams and Treatment
  • Bedside Monitoring
  • Bladder Irrigation
  • Blood Administration
  • Blood Glucose Testing Devices
  • Cap Change
  • Cardiac Care
  • Care of Gastrostomy Tube
  • Catheter Care
  • Catheterization
  • Central Line Dressing
  • CCU
  • Chemotherapy Administration
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Data Management
  • Dialysis
  • Discharge
  • Documentation
  • Dressing Application
  • Dressing Change
  • Dry Sterile Dressing Application
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Emergency Room Care
  • Empathy
  • Family Education
  • Geriatric Care

H – M

  • Healthcare Software
  • Home Care
  • Hospice Care
  • ICU
  • Infection Control
  • Injections
  • Interpersonal
  • Intramuscularly Injections
  • IV Therapy
  • Kindness
  • Lab Testing
  • Leadership
  • Licensure
  • Listening
  • Maintaining Patient Charts
  • Management of Open Wounds
  • Maternal Care
  • Medical/Surgical
  • Medications
  • Monitoring Vital Signs

N – S

  • Neonatal Care
  • Observation
  • Obstetrics
  • Operating Room
  • Pain Management
  • Patience
  • Patient Assessment
  • Patient Education
  • Patient Evaluation
  • Patient History
  • Patient Monitoring
  • Patient Care
  • Pediatric Care
  • Physical Assessments
  • Physical Endurance
  • Prenatal Care
  • Psychiatric Care
  • Record Keeping
  • Rehabilitation
  • Seizure Precautions
  • Shunt Dressing Change
  • Specific Gravity
  • Sterile Scrub Sponge Change
  • Suctioning of the Tracheotomy Tube
  • Surgical
  • Surgery Preparation
  • Suture Removal

T - Z

  • Teamwork
  • Telemetry Care
  • Time Management
  • Total Parenteral Nutrition and Lipids
  • Tracheotomy Care
  • Transparent Wound Dressings
  • Urine Testing
  • Venipuncture
  • Wet Sterile Dressing
  • Withdrawal of Blood Samples
  • Wound Irrigation

Nurse Practitioner Skills List

A - C

  • Accurately Documenting Patient Condition and Treatment Plans
  • Adaptability
  • Adhering to Ethical Principles
  • Analytical
  • Applying Current Research to Medical Practice
  • Assertiveness
  • Attention to Detail
  • Coaching
  • Coding and Billing for Services
  • Collaborating
  • Consulting with Other Health Team Members
  • Coping with Pressure
  • Counseling
  • Critical Thinking
  • Customer Service

D - I

  • Decision Making
  • Delegating
  • Developing Rapport with Patients
  • Devising Protocols for Nursing Practices
  • Diagnostic
  • Diffusing Stressful Situations
  • Evaluating Medical Services
  • Evaluating Staff Performance
  • Formulating Care Plans
  • Healthcare Provider CPR
  • Instructing
  • Interpersonal
  • Interpreting Medical Tests
  • Interviewing

L - O

  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Maintaining Confidentiality and Protecting Sensitive Data
  • Making Referrals to Specialists
  • Managing Medications
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Mathematical
  • Mentoring
  • Monitoring
  • Multitasking
  • Negotiation
  • Ongoing Learning
  • Ordering Physical Therapy and Other Treatments
  • Organizational

P - Z

  • Performing Minor Surgeries
  • Persuasive
  • Preparing Health Education Materials
  • Prescribing Medication
  • Prioritizing
  • Problem Solving
  • Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
  • Researching
  • Spanish
  • Supervising
  • Taking Initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Training Staff
  • Verbal
  • Writing

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Use these skill words in your resume: In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords. You can also add them to your resume summary if you have one.

Highlight your skills in your cover letter: In the body of your letter, mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated each of those skills at work.

Share your skills in your interview: Make sure you have at least one example of a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.